You may have heard that back in August 2018, a policy memo issued by USCIS attempted to change how unlawful presence would be triggered and calculated.
The memo stated that students, in F and J status, would accrue unlawful presence when they violated their status or stayed in the US beyond their authorized period of stay. This memo was challenged by colleges and students in law suits across the United States because the consequences and penalties of the memo would’ve been very harsh.
The good news: On February 06, 2020, a Judge granted summary judgement in favor of international students and their institutions regarding the August 2018 changes to unlawful presence.
What student’s still need to know:
The law, as always, requires students to still maintain their F-1 or J-1 student status. The ruling does not remove laws of unlawful presence; the laws regarding unlawful presence are still in effect. The new ruling, however, states that a violation alone will not begin to accrue days of unlawful presence.
Also, the government can appeal the judgement in a higher court and it is expected that they will. Our office will continue to track updates and provide frequent communications on this issue. As always, keep in mind that F-1 and J-1 status holders are responsible for maintaining their respective status. Status violations should always be avoided as they still can have harsh consequences.
If you have any questions and concerns, you can always reach out to your OISS Advisor.
Additional Reading: Forbes
Written By: Lara Jennings, International Student & Scholar Advisor